With a huge servant heart, Brenda was destined to become a nurse.
She graduated from nursing school in 1976 and with the exception of about 3 years, she has always worked as a nurse. Eight months after graduation, she joined the US Army and served a total of 25 years (10 years active and 15 years in the reserves with an 11 year break to raise her two sons). Over her 37 year nursing career, she held various positions to include staff nurse, charge nurse, nurse manager, nurse educator, nurse recruiter, nurse case manager, nurse coordinator of support to caregivers of severely injured combat veterans, and health coach.
Early in her career, she realized that she enjoyed making order out of chaos and realized that nurses needed a nurse leader who would advocate for them. She became passionate about fighting for what was right to be able to give quality care. There were times she was so verbal as a nurse manager, fighting for the staff nurses to have what they needed for patient care, that she was labeled by the administrators as a trouble maker and union organizer. “It could not have been further from the truth having grown up in a blue collar family where I saw my family suffer every time my father went out on strike. Fortunately, what the administrators thought about me was never important, if I could get what my staff needed.”
In 2001 while working at an ambulatory surgery center, she fought back when untrained nurses were being asked to push Propofol. She went to the Board of Nursing and was successful at getting a statement from them which impacted patient safety in many facilities in Florida, and which protected nurses from being asked to perform something not in their Practice Act.
“I was happy to be supported by my coworkers and nurse anesthetists in Florida. It gave me faith that nurses could join forces for what was right.”
In 2005, while working for another administrator who did not see things the way she saw them, she made a decision that forever changed her life. She decided to take her future in her own hands and take charge of her physical, mental and financial health.
“I started a journey to get healthy inspired by a friend who was melting away in front of my eyes”. He was a vascular surgeon who was 125 pounds overweight. Brenda and her friend had lost and gained weight many times over the years they had known each other. This time he lost 125 pounds and his entire attitude was different. Brenda was going into a size 24 dress and feeling more and more hopeless, so needless to say, she begged him to tell her what he was doing. His exact words were, “I will tell you, I will help you, and then I want you to become a health coach with me so that we can stay accountable and give hope to others.
“When I got started, whether intentionally avoiding the issue or not, I was oblivious to the fact that the entire country (not just me) was getting fatter and fatter. The more I learned about this opportunity to become a health coach, the more excited I became. I started a program learning to eat every three hours and drinking more water. I lost 60 pounds and couldn’t believe it. It was the easiest thing I had ever done. I started telling family and friends and many people wanted to join me on the journey.”
“There really is not an entrepreneurial bone in my body, so I cannot claim to have started out to own my own business, but that is exactly what has happened”. She runs a wellness business from home, part time.
Fortunately, some of her nurse friends wanted to join her too.
The first person she called was an old Army friend. They had known each other since 1980 when they were both stationed in Seoul Korea. Linda was a cardiac nurse clinician who had tried for 30 years to help Brenda get healthy. “It was funny that me, of all people, was sharing an opportunity with her to get healthier. She was immediately on board.”
Another nurse, Ruth has given Brenda permission to share her story in detail.
In addition to Brenda, Linda and Ruth, Skinny Nurses includes nursing professors, a nurse who owns a medical fitness clinic, nurse practitioners, nursing supervisors, diabetic nurse educators, staff nurses and retired nurses.
We are looking for nurses in all areas and in all states to join us getting healthy.
Student nurses and new graduates are welcome too.
Brenda’s Education and Experience
BSN from the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 1976
MSN from Catholic University, Washington, DC 1980
37 years of experience.
Past Positions Held:
- Staff Nurse
- Nurse Manager
- Nurse Recruiter
- Nurse Educator
- Case Manager
- Caregiver Support Coordinator
- Certified Health Coach and Business Owner
- Retired Army Nurse Corps LTC, USAR